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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Gifted in Translation

Upon the realization that my first child was gifted, I did some google searching and had a conversation or two with my mom about it and then went on my way living my life as if it was just a thing that would make life and school a little easier.   Life and school certainly do not become easier because your child is gifted.  There are some words and thoughts that come to mind when I think about raising gifted children but easy living isn't one of them.  Many parents, including myself, would describe the journey of raising gifted children as intense, confusing, overwhelming, depthful, mentally draining, awe inspiring, rapidly evolving and sometimes it makes my head spin in the most amazing way.  The reality is that these words are lighter than what we truly experience.

A decade ago, I didn't envision this life we are living; however, it suits our fierce individualities perfectly. I, too, was an odd bird growing up.  Or, at least that is what my friends told me. I didn't know what they meant at the time. And, I too, was a bit of a rebel who embraced being different. I distinctly remember sales pitching my mother about not needing to go to school anymore because I wasn't learning anything important.  I was 9. I guess it shouldn't come as such a shock to me that we have evolved into radical unschoolers. Freedom to push boundaries, reject forced ideas, delve into the unknown and immerse ourselves deeply in our own interests is our driving force.  Our life is fueled with intense intellectual and creative energy weaving comedy and confusion throughout.

We oddballs do not generally apologize for not fitting in. Actually, some people prefer us for that quality.  The free spirited, free thinker with a wealth of knowledge to back up the overly articulated rants. Tact is modeled (sometimes) and passion is infectious. We aren't trying to fix the quirks.  We are a very extreme and noticeable family wherever we go. It is just who we are. We don't blend in. Anywhere.  This part is hard on my husband who tries to live every day like he is invisible.  My oldest offspring is definitely a child who enjoys his quirky personae, my youngest exudes charisma, my husband is the strong silent type and I am the chaos whisperer.  Our authentic nature sometimes presents as rough around the edges.  My kids demonstrate their heightened sense of living in the world in oppositional l ways so I must remain well versed in each child's unique temperament in order not to offend society in general as well as to best facilitate their developmental trajectory.    

One must have an unusual amount of patience and understanding when living with gifted children. Their asynchronous development can catch you off guard and leave you asking yourself, "How is it that this kid can do discrete math in his head instinctively but cannot adequately take showers without encouragement and reminders?"  When their minds emulate that of a professor but their common sense and life skills barely match a young child, it serves to confuse the most empathetic parent.  Even my husband, who lives this bizarrro life every day, is, at times, baffled by the disparity in intellect versus childlike judgment, physical adroitness, emotional stability and impulsive nature.  He is constantly connecting one to another and then fails to make sense of it all despite my explanations.  Asynchrony is pervasive with no off switch; it is all consuming and mixed with overexcitabilities can be entirely overwhelming at times. This combination often leads to a misdiagnosis of pathologies in gifted children.  I prefer to look a gifted child through a positive lens that takes into account asynchronicity, overexcitabilities and environmental influences.

Connecting undesirale behavior to the environment and learning approach plays an indispensible role in understanding gifted children.  Sating a gifted child's intellectual and creative needs is an essential ingredient in how they behave in any given situation.  Parenting gifted children requires knowledge and oftentimes a switch in mindset in order to fully support and appreciate the extraordinary nature of the gifted child.  Raising an out-of-the-box thinker in an in-the-box system is counterintuitive and often damaging.  

It took years for us to evolve as a family into a freethinking way of life, specifically in terms of parenting and education.  Because of just how off beat and strong willed my children are, radical unschooling really is our only possibility.  These children know who they are and what they want and need. I am here to help them along on the path they are carving out for themselves.  Their independent spirit fuels their motivation which is shaping their personalities.  The one similarity my two boys share is that their interests and passions come in waves and they are all consuming when at the forefront.  The obsessions change but they are always deeply explored and a meaningful part of their personal development. 

Gifted children and unschooling are often an ideal fit.  Most gifted children are fiercely independent and driven by their inquisitive nature. Self-directed learning is the most natural approach for a motivated, gifted child brimming with curiosity. Providing gifted children with the freedom to satiate their intellectual and creative needs in a stimulating environment with access to interesting materials and technology is paramount for a thriving autodidact  In my case, preventing freedom of self-discovery would foster behavioral issues and negative, hostile energy which is advantageous to no one.  When my children are driven and focused on an endeavor of their own choosing, the best course of action is to stay out of their way and let them engage fully in their work. External expectations of what a child should be interested and engaged in has no merit in an unschooling lifestyle.  The child is in control of his own pursuits regardless of adult and societal archetypes.

The unschooling journey is ever evolving and moderately eccentric.  Then, again, that is the be entirely individualistic and authentic in terms of shaping one's identity, intellect and creative being.  Embrace your gifted child's quirks and temperament and let them soar with the freedom that they relish.  Try not to compare and measure your children with the external world of mediocrity and sameness. Gifted children are not meant to blend in and be like everyone else. Celebrate who they truly are, savor the experience and enjoy the ride.

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This blog is part of the New Zealand Gifted Awareness Blog Tour

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

this is our normal

I am a firm believer that a child's life should be filled with play in whichever way that manifests.  Age, temperament and family lifestyle will heavily determine what play looks like over time and in different homes. We are not an outdoorsy, adventurous family with the exception of the kids' newfound interest in Nerf toy guns, so our play is mostly indoors.  I think my five year old would appreciate a lot more wilderness, camping and frolicking about outside but my sun aversive personality, desire for physical comfort and cleanliness plays a factor in what choices we make out in the world. Though we live near the beach, it takes a lot of accoutrements for me to tolerate it, much less enjoy it, so the beach is my husband's domain.  I would prefer to be indoors reading, writing or watching a movie.  Indoor play is just more my speed.

The importance of play, in whatever form, is paramount in our life. Unschooling allows for unlimited learning through play.  When you enjoy what you are doing it feels like play even if it doesn't look like it to the outside world.  My five year old's day is entirely play-based which includes how he approaches reading, maths, writing, creative expression and social development. In our world play and learning are inseparable.  My ten year old's day is entirely play based as well but his play includes an incredible amount of technology and reading.

I am not sure what is typical for most ten year olds but in this house it means non stop learning, creating and general information consumption and dissemination.  This child has had no use for toys or anything resembling childlike interests since the day he turned nine. That was the beginning of the end of his childhood as I had come to know it and the mark of something much more unique, intense and all consuming.  As soon as this kid's eyes are open to greet the day he goes straight to the heart of all learning: technology.  His computer and iDevices are always nearby and ready to be utilized for most of the day as his primary learning and producing tool.  He rarely needs a break from his work which is technology centric and wholly satisfying. The only part of his play filled learning day that is offscreen is when he is consuming his comic books and teaching me what he has been learning about or creating.  There isn't much else.  His work is his play and his play is his work.  On the occasions when we do venture out into the world, he is creating and editing the whole time.  If the statement is true that one should find what they love and the money will follow then this kid will make boatloads.  There is no frivolity to his day. There is just no time for that.  

I am pretty sure my five year old is a little more in line with other five year olds. He loves Legos, superheroes, fighting, violence, weapons, My Little Pony, Hello Kitty, building and cuddle time. Okay, maybe not entirely typical but he is a child who plays all day, every day and is creative and curious. Our unschooling day provides for unlimited freedom to satiate one's desires.  It just so happens that for my five year old it means acting out a lot of fighting scenes from superhero movies, reciting lines from The Goldbergs and then turning to My Little Pony comics and plush toys for lovey tenderness. He is a complex boy, to say the least, who is in tune with his masculine and feminine sides in a very powerful and all encompassing way. He is a kid who can connect with boys and girls of absolutely any age with ease and it has always been this way.  He is a dream to play with but parenting him is not for the faint of heart.  Unlike his older brother who has never uttered a curse word in his life, this kid walks with the confidence of a prison gang leader and talks like a drunken sailor.  There really isn't much we can do about it other than mostly ignore it and occasionally remind him that most five year olds do not talk like this and all adults will find it offensive.  This falls on deaf ears.  

While my little kooks are doing their thing I tend to read, write and research the next great everything. We are a family where everyone is autonomous and focused on pursuing their own needs in a collaborative and loving environment (most of the time). We are not your average family which works well for my kids and I; however, my husband longs for a "normal" life which he thought he was signing up for when he met a nice Jewish attorney.  Sorry, I am a lot more than meets the eye and our life will likely remain complex and turbulent.  I am pretty confident that I have always been an odd bird, or, at least that is what my law school friends would tell me, but my kids take quirky and weird to new, bizarre levels.  I embrace the helter-skelter life we lead and and enjoy that we all keep evolving into more creative beings.

Since we have embraced an alternative lifestyle, disturbing the existing order at every turn, it is no wonder our play looks different from the norm. Every moment in our radical unschooling life is mostly enjoyable and entirely interest led.  Interest led learning is synonymous with play, which is defined as an "activity engaged in for enjoyment and recreation, especially by children."  We live a life of play. All day, every day, we engage in activities purely for enjoyment.  It just so happens that we thoroughly enjoy hoarding information and devouring knowledge.

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This blog is part of a blog hop

Monday, May 19, 2014

Maximalist Manifesto: Creating a Prepared Environment

As an unschooler, something I find crucial is keeping a stimulating environment. Every part of our home is brimming with carefully selected books, games, toys, art supplies and especially technological devices of all sorts.  My own obsessive nature dictates that I have a ridiculous amount of toys and books within a series so there is never a shortage of comprehensive materials.  I have heard the statement that less is more but that doesn't really ring true here at the Harrington house of part-time hoarding. I have written many times about the gentle art of "strewing."  In reality, it is a disorganized person's excuse for not spending time straightening up the miscellaneous everything that abounds one's home and car. Strewing is the random placement of interesting materials spread around the house in the hopes of inspiring interest.  This decorating technique is especially effective with books; however, any item can be strategically or haphazardly placed and will always be met with enthusiasm in this household. New and novel usually draws their attention and piques their curiosity.

I have an affinity for magnetic toys, especially the building variety, so whenever new ones come onto the market I do not hesitate to acquire them.  Captivating building toys guarantee unlimited hours of creativity for my younger son.  Aside from our wonderful magnetic building collection of Magformers, Magnatiles, Tegu, and Y-Ball my youngest collects traditional building toys like Lego, Citiblocs, Zoob and our new favorite Plus Plus and he loves to transform random household items into little domiciles.  He may be a budding architect with his delicate balance of symmetry, color palette and design abilities that are nurtured through unlimited access to fascinating objects and no imagination restriction.

We also have several fidgety, sensory toys everywhere you look because you just never know when you might need to squish or twist something. Fortunately, fidgeters may find refuge in every room of the house.  Manipulatives of all varieties are generally out in the open which my youngest son uses for many different creative activities as well as for maths and spelling.  The key is providing easy access to a wide range of interesting, colorful, and relevant materials. 

For my screen dependent older child, strewing comes in the form of emails mostly and, unfortunately, they sometimes get ignored; however, in theory, it is a great method for a child who enjoys checking their email regularly.  Another online trick is to merely keep a few webpages open that may foster an interest in pursuing it further.  Apps are easily the shiniest item that I add to our collection of intriguing learning assets.  Real time access to a new interest is easily sated by a quick trip to the App Store.  My kids can learn anything if delivered in the right manner which is uniquely related to books, audiovisuals and iDevice apps.  Once a child's interests and needs becomes clear, then supporting that interest with additional, relatable materials can help enhance the depth of it.

In terms of parenting tricks for out of the box gifted kiddos my philosophy is to relinquish control. Not because I am other than a control freak but because my kids demand autonomy and trying to inject my opinions or agenda into their lives will wreak havoc on all of us.  My influence needs to be rather innocuous to be successful. Strewing is effective because it is passive and in plain view.  Any attempt to blatantly tell my children to engage in something that they are not interested in will not result in compliance. And, I wouldn't want it to. I am uniquely uninterested in raising compliant, obedient children so allowing them the freedom to figure out their own passions is paramount to their personal development.  

Unschooling and strewing do not have to be an expensive endeavor as the library and free online resources are your best friends.  We frequent the library several times a week and the car is filled with 30 plus books at a time.  For us, car strewing is essential for keeping boredom and sibling squabbles at bay.  Idleness and time wasting activities are hard for all of us, so we really require plentiful books and activities wherever we are.  We have found that the car is a wonderful place to listen to audiobooks that we may never get around to reading.  Another on the go favorite of mine is Mad Libs which is a fun, portable learning tool that is ideal for restaurants or errand runs. Utilizing the car as an extension of your learning day can be so effective that there is a book on it, Carschooling, which provides you with many ideas on how to maximize the car ride.

Unschooling creative, gifted children may create chaos in your home if you are a neat freak who likes clear surfaces and floors.  I have always been an aspiring minimalist but with a house filled with animals and curious children, a spotless home is an unattainable fantasy. As much as I enjoy going to other people's neat and well manicured homes, there is an energy missing when everything looks and feels like a show home.  I like seeing creative interests out in the open.   The out of sight, out of mind sentiment greatly affects us so, without capitalizing on the art of strewing, there wouldn't be as much creative expression. My desire for minimalism will never reach fruition because without our plethora of engaging resources abound we would live a very sterile and unproductive life.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Gifted is Not Elitist

I don't throw the G word around in public freely. We parents understand that though it, too, is a unique need it doesn't compare to what mainstream society thinks of as a special need. Special needs garner sympathy and regional support but gifted gets neglected and will always elicit envy amongst those that don't live with it daily.  My children's energy is demonstrative.  We don't need to label their intensities out in the world as it is generally apparent to anyone who is around them for more than five minutes. Their giftedness is palpable.  

It would be wonderful if everyone understood the nature of giftedness and the support required to help gifted children develop optimally, but sadly that is not the current situation. In addition to high intellect comes a variety of perplexing behaviors that often get pathologized when necessary accommodations are not in place. Gifted children are quite different in how they navigate the world and we use the term to identify a set of characteristics that one can expect to experience with gifted children. The label is there like any other descriptive label, it is just that this label seems to offend the "normal" population.

Gifted is a loaded term because it connotes a gift, a privilege, a blessing, something fortunate and through the lens of the envious, but uninformed, it means better than and elitist. These are the myths. The myth that gifted is all a positive benefit with no challenge. Gifted kids are wonderfully awesome but they are also incredibly challenging and, in my case, our whole family dynamic is different because of it. I wouldn't change our life for anything but it is far from envious if you enjoy a "normal" life.  My child will never experience anything that resembles normal life which, of course, we don't care about now; however, it makes absolutely everything different.  Many neurotypical parents with nuerotypical kids think that parents of gifted children have hit the genetic lottery with our kids; however, we know what goes hand in hand with exceptional intelligence. The extremely sensitive, overly emotional, psychomotor energy mixed with the highly creative and intellectual mind makes for brilliant chaos. I embrace it. I have a feeling most neurotypical parents would have a hard time spending one day with my children.  They don't just go with the flow and follow along with the group.  The argumentative know it all character wears thin for mere mortals.  So, while we could certainly call gifted something new like emotionally intense, intuitively sensitive, radically accelerated, high ability, or unique needs we would still be using a term to describe kids with superior intellect.  Uninformed people are threatened by what they believe that it means without understanding the full picture of overexcitabilities, asynchronicity, social differences and non conformity as the underlying attributes that go hand in hand with high intelligence.

You can call it whatever you want but it doesn't change what gifted is and what gifted isn't.  Gifted is a neurological condition that permeates cultural, ethnic and socio-economic boundaries and has nothing to do with privilege or elitism.  

Those of us in the gifted world understand exactly what gifted means. We are here to support and educate gifted families on this unique and complex path. We know that giftedness and high achievement often are not always synonymous. We appreciate that giftedness is not a guarantee that one will have success in life.  We are aware that gifted children feel different from others and that may impact social opportunities.  We research and support gifted children with dual or multiple exceptionalities and how best to serve them.  We empathize with their depth of consciousness and acute sensitivities.  We embrace their alternative views about the world and help foster positive self-concept and promote authenticity.  We are cognizant that many gifted children have a deep emotional range that requires healthy, loving support.  We realize that one size fits all thinking will never apply to gifted children. We accept that being gifted is a lifelong journey of self-discovery. We understand that gifted is neuroatypical wiring.  

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This blog is part of the Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page inaugural Blog Hop on The “G” Word (“Gifted”).  To read more blogs in this hop, visit this Blog Hop at 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Push Academics and Children May Hate Learning

Our days are filled with chaos in a beautiful, all consuming way.  Our very free lifestyle provides us with a healthier approach to living in may ways and it keeps our minds open to the unexpected.  One of the most noticeable benefits is the lack of stress that my children and I feel on our highly customized journey.  They are carving their own path now and it is such an interesting ride.  Our focus really is on creative freedom of expression in every sense.

With a deemphasis on traditional academics and unrestricted time to delve into our own interests, each of us are able to satiate our creative needs on a daily basis. Giving my children the freedom to choose that which they want to focus their time on has helped them evolve into interesting, capable human beings who are passionate about learning.

"It's Happening!"  squealed my youngest child. 

He just started working on a new online reading game and it clicked that he is actually able to read.  Yes, it was happening through what felt like osmosis coupled with readiness and a desire to read. Words are everywhere.  

He has been able to read words here and there but he certainly doesn't express the same enthusiasm with regard to reading the his brother and I share.  He just hadn't shown much interest in reading or being read to for a couple of years now.  It was noticeable how different his receptivity to being read to was.  As much as our house is every bit a reading house, we all honor our own unique needs. Just this morning I was thinking about how I need to get over any thought of having another early or voracious reader.  Each kid is unique and though I find reading to be quite important in terms of self education, which we are all about, I am also one who believes that pushing a child to learn something they are not interested in nor ready for is not only a complete waste of time but it may also turn them off to very thing you are hoping they will learn.  

Push a reluctant reader into reading exercises on some arbitrary time frame and you will likely squash his natural interest in reading.  The desire and readiness must be completely their own.  Children learn best when they are calm, interested and ready. Trying to rush something as complicated and important as reading will likely backfire even if it looks as if the child is making progress.  Children can learn under fear and coercion but it certainly isn't optimal.   Requiring a child to do x amount of reading everyday whether they are interested in it or not may help them learn to read the words in the moment but it will likely do nothing to inspire a love of reading especially if it is a struggle in the process.

I love experiencing what feels like spontaneous ability.  All of a sudden my youngest is writing complete sentences with perfect spelling, grammar and punctuation without ever doing any formal instruction.  Today he showed a desire to do something he's never tried nor shown any interest in previously (kind of like reading).  He went from zero practice to multiple well crafted sentences with one big, organic, I've been soaking it all in kind of a leap.  Unschooling allows this type of learning to happen on his time frame and in his way.  He is learning just by being alive in the world experiencing communication through multiple channels.  In the midst of this discovery he stated: "I'm a good speller from what I know."  Yes, apparently you are. 

So, now that he is ready to read, spell and write, he is also interested in practicing reading, spelling and writing of his own volition and he is experiencing success with online reading games and apps. He is entirely self-motivated and he has complete power over his own learning with no external pressure, expectation or rewards.  I find that in today's world with the plethora of apps, online games and informative audiovisuals, children can learn anything in real-time and that learning is entertaining and meaningful. When learning is fun, children are engaged and interested which is an ideal recipe for learning success.  

I keep coming upon articles that punish technology and media; however, those are incredibly relevant methods of information dissemination especially for visual spatial learners. Understanding your child's learning preference is essential to fostering their love of learning.  If you provide them with a well prepared environment that capitalizes on their learning potential and set them free to explore that learning rich environment with no expectation or adult interference, you may be surprised at how your children will flourish.  Everyone learns on their own time frame and in their own way. Trust the process of letting go and a child's natural curiosity will drive them to find what interests them.  Support those interests whatever they are and stop measuring and assessing progress or mastery.  When a child is engaged, learning, creative and productive external measures cease to be relevant.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Minimizing Stress, Anxiety and Emotional Outbursts

Our version of living a healthy lifestyle is dominated by analyzing our behavior before, during and after an experience. Promoting health and well being has different meanings for different people. At a basic physical level, for me, it means having a clean, organic diet, using chemical free products for skin care and house cleaning, practicing yoga or pilates, taking long hot baths and getting quality sleep.  
For my children it means making reasonably healthy choices with food, constant movement, an adherence to oral hygiene and quality sleep.  How our healthy approach truly manifests is in how we dissect our learning experiences, whatever they may be, to help strengthen our emotional and psychological well being in light of best laid plans.  

Know who you are. This resonates here. Part of being healthy is having the ability to manage or better yet, prevent stress.  We discover who we are, what our needs are, what we like and how we react to life's curve balls. Our ability to manage stress and anxiety by making choices that are supportive of our unique personalities is what keeps us happy and healthy despite how different we are from mainstream living.  We do not engage in many all day out door activities as we are sun aversive, heat sensitive, noise bothered, crowd affected, indoor people who appreciate books, tech and media over suntans and large crowds. By knowing who we are and how we feel about certain events, we are able to adjust accordingly by either not attending or by planning ahead of time how to accommodate some of our unique needs.  It seems that we are all quite mood affected by hunger with a few discerning palettes so, a big part of any day out of the house coincides with timely, familiar meals. 

We do not overly schedule ourselves which allows for more passion driven learning at home.  The basis of our lifestyle is rooted in extreme intellectual needs that are better satiated at home. Most of the time. Whatever our lifestyle is, it is always extreme and it ebbs and flows in multiple directions.  The true freedom from any specific expectations placed upon my kids, in particular and us in general, help shape a healthy lifestyle for us.  

Miniming stress, anxiety and potential emotional outburts by carefully choosing how, where and with whom we spend our time is omnipresent.

My children generally soak in everything they are around and since they are around me they are naturally absorbing some of my healthier approaches to living.  They are influenced by who I am and what choices I make and yet they are always figuring out who they are what they like.  They have a fascination with knowing everything about everything so they spend their time consuming information. Knowledge carnivores. They appreciate the importance of making healthy choices and understand risk. What they are interested in changes but they are free to learn that which suits them in the moment and for however long thereafter. They require this freedom. Structure would be stressful.  They are aware of what they are comfortable with and what is too much for them. They know how they learn best and choose to live passionate, creative lives uniquely designed by themselves.

Each of us are entirely independent and collaborative.  We have fierce dedication to our own interests and the opportunity to share them with each other in an emotionally available, intellectually charged, creative and peaceful environment. This flow that we have created keeps stress and anxiety at bay. Understanding who we are and what we want our journey to be is a critical part of our life education. It just happens that our version of a healthy lifestyle is determined by our ability to independently quench our intellectual and creative needs in real-time.

This is what healthy living is. For us.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Not All Children Are Gifted. Stop Perpetuating the Fallacy.

The statement all kids are gifted gets thrown around a lot like here or the not too dissimilar thought Seth Godin tried to perpetuate stating that we can learn to be gifted if we practice and it is entirely offensive and ignorant.  Not all kids are gifted and gifted shouldn't be a bad word but it is because parents of neurotypical kids are internalizing and incorrectly assuming it means smart, straight As and easygoing.  Really? I am raising two profoundly gifted boys one of whom is a prodigy and nothing about them or our life is easygoing. My kids are not straight A students. My kids are so completely different that school does not even apply to them.  Their brilliance is undeniable and awesome and I would never change a thing but they are very far from "normal." They actually canNOT thrive in school because school is designed for "normal" kids. You know those kids who have friends and play sports and like popular TV shows and music.  "Normal" kids who have sleepovers and eat all sorts of foods and can go to amusement parks and get along well with others. "Normal" just isn't enough for "normal" parents. "Normal" parents want to be able to say that all kids are gifted.  The fact is that most kids are "normal" and every day life is designed for "normal" people.

While all children are gifts, not all of them are gifted. We, as a culture, love to embrace a talented artist and we cherish athletic prowess but we show disdain for an intellectually gifted child.  Giftedness in children should be nourished and cultivated as they are the ones that will develop cures for cancer, invent useful products, discover unique methods for sustainable living, create innovative technological advances and inspire future generations to excel.

Well, I will tell you what gifted really is. Gifted is neurological wiring in the brain that lasts a lifetime. Gifted is neuroatypicality kind of like how Autism is neuroatypicality.  Gifted means that your entire experience of the world is qualitatively different from the norm. Gifted means that your child will likely never fit in at school, will be misunderstood by teachers and likely pathologized and punished. Gifted means that making and keeping friends will be infinitely harder and everyday life will be challenging and bizarre.  

Gifted means asynchronous development which means that gifted children are many ages at once.  A gifted child may have an intellect several years higher than their physical age, the emotional regulation and physical dexterity of a child several years younger than their age with the social desires of a child their chronological age all trapped in one body.  This is a gifted child's reality every day.  The mind may have brilliant thoughts trapped in a body that cannot execute them well.

Parents of gifted children are shunned if they talk about their child's accomplishments publicly instead of celebrated.  When we talk about what our children are doing it is not meant to minimize what your "normal" kid does just like when you talk about your kid's successes we don't try to belittle them. Parenting is not a competition.  We are all on a different journey and parenting a gifted child is a bumpy and confusing experience and no one size fits all parenting book or educational approach applies.  Gifted kids are the outliers, the odd birds, the kids that march to the beat of their own drum, the ones that get teased on the playground and bullied by their teachers.  Gifted is not easy. It is joyful at times and completely baffling at others.  Gifted does not represent everyone much like everyone isn't Autistic. It is belittling to those who are given the challenge of raising these unique children where everyday is unpredictable. Gifted requires a modification in parenting, education and often includes special counseling.

Gifted means that my child will never have a "normal" life. Gifted does not automatically equate with success. While it is true that some gifted people are successful, many have so many emotional issues like depression and anxiety that prevent them from fully realizing their potential. Gifted means that you always feel different from the majority of people you come across and not everyone embraces different.  Gifted means that you are rarely going to follow rules and tow the line which makes gainful employment difficult.   When giftedness is cultivated in a supportive environment then a gifted child may flourish but sadly, because of our culture's disdain for gifted children and the lack of support they receive in schools, many gifted children do not lead happy, productive lives and that is a tragedy.  

Do you still think all children are gifted?